Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies with Cuddle Fairy

Welcome back to my blog series Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies. This week we’re chatting to Becky from Cuddle Fairy.

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

My name is Becky. I’m originally from New York & have been living in the west of Ireland for the past ten years. My husband & I have three kiddies aged 9, 6 & 3. I started my positive parenting & lifestyle blog, Cuddle Fairy, one year ago.

cuddle fairy small

What one essential item would you insist on putting in your
hospital bag (for you)?

Food! I know – it doesn’t seem like an essential but I was starved in the hospital when I was in the first time. I breastfed my three kids & the breastfeeding made me so hungry! The small hospital portions just didn’t cut it. My husband used to bring me food in when he’d come to visit. When I packed my bags for baby 2 & 3 I added snacks!

Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?

All three of my labours were totally different. When you are expecting, you don’t know what’s going to happen during delivery so my advice is to be open-minded to all of your options. When I took ante-natal classes before having my first I tuned out the part on pain relief because I wasn’t going to have any. I ended up having an epidural after 24 hours of labour, having my water broke & still being
at 2cm. The pain was too much for me to take & it was coming every 20 seconds. So I opted for the epidural. I knew nothing about it because I was too foolish to pay attention to that part during class. I think having a birth plan is wonderful but keep an open mind to other possibilities.

What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?

For me, it was my breastfeeding pillow. I bought the boomerang shaped soft version. It was fantastic. I slept with it during all 3 pregnancies. Then I use it to breastfeed all 3 babies. It was particularly useful for feeding our daughter who had to wear a brace to correct her hip dysplasia. Then, it served as a safety net behind all three kids as they learned to sit up. Buy one with a removable, washable cover. And I love the one I have over the super stuffed u shaped one as I think it’s more versatile.

I love my Dream Genii pregnancy and feeding pillow. They seem expensive but for the amount of use I’ve got out of it…worth every penny!

What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?

It wasn’t so much advice as a statement from a good friend of mine about how at some stage after giving birth you will look over at your baby & start to cry. The hormones, emotions & lack of sleep can make you so emotional. I’m glad she shared that with me because I had just that feeling & I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one.

What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

Breastfeeding isn’t that common where I live. It’s slightly more popular now but when I was pregnant with my first I only knew one other breastfeeding mom. I received a lot of pro-bottle feeding advice, which was difficult to hear at times.

My mother bottle fed me and she didn’t really entertain the idea of breastfeeding either.

What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

Not to be nervous. It takes a few months for your baby to start sleeping & eating with any sort of regularity. There’s nothing you can do as parents most of the time to help that process along so don’t stress.  Sleep when you can & everything will sort itself out soon.

What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

The lack of sleep! It makes everything more difficult & it makes me less patient. I never knew the importance of sleep! lol

Ah, sleep…what’s that?!

What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

The amazing love for your child. It’s like no other type of love. Some people feel that love right away, others it takes a bit of time but in the end, every parent adores their child & the love between that of a parent & a child is an absolute gift.

Thanks for that great advice, Becky! You can find Becky over on her blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at jules@ponderingparenthood.com.

meet the parents, parenting advice, advice for new parents, new mummy, new daddy, new mum, new dad, baby advice

Living Arrows: Windy Smiles

I’ve been reading Donna’s blog over at What the Redhead Said for years now; since well before I started blogging myself and have always enjoyed her Living Arrows photo series.

The name comes from the Khalil Gibran poem, “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” and each week linkers share a photo from their week, which sums up an element of childhood for them.

Up to now I’d always been a little bit sad that I wasn’t able to join in (small technicality of not having a child!) but last night I saw Donna mention Living Arrows on Twitter and ping! the lightbulb went on and I got very excited upon realising that I can join in now!!

I immediately knew which photograph from my week I wanted to share. In her fifth week of life, Little M has become so much more expressive and spent more time awake and alert. We’re still waiting for a bona fide smile but for now I’m happy to take in the windy reflex ones!

This photo was taken while we were having cuddles on the sofa, getting ready for a feed. After the early days of struggling to get Little M to take any milk, it’s such a joy to see how eager she is to feed now. I know I’m biased but doesn’t she just look so cute here?!

Scrumptious!

Living Arrows

Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies with Dear Bear and Beany

Welcome back to my blog series Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies.
This week we’re chatting to Laura from Dear Bear and Beany.

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

I’m Laura, I am wife to Andy and mummy to Alice and Holly. My blog is called dear bear and beany, a parenting and lifestyle blog. I share my rambling thoughts on motherhood and the adventures we go on.

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What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?

A large towel ready for a shower afterwards and one that I don’t mind being put in the bin. Trust me, you won’t want to take it home with you.

Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?

With my first pregnancy, I was in early labour for two days and I really wasn’t expecting that. I thought it happened like you see on the television. You go into labour for a bit, then your waters break and you push your baby out.

With my second pregnancy the hospital we had planned to have Holly in, which was the same one I had Alice, was full and wasn’t accepting anyone in. I had heard of this happening, but I never really thought that it would and certainly not to me. Try not to panic, the midwives are great at finding a suitable hospital for you and you are not left to find one yourself.

Oh my gosh, I think I would freak out. Especially as the quality of the hospitals in this area is so variable. Good for you for staying calm!

What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?

A good bath support, it can be quite daunting trying to bath your newborn. They are all slippery and you worry about dropping them. I brought a fantastic Hippo Bath Support from The Baby Show before my eldest was born, it was fantastic. It had a netting that she lay on and the water came through and she laid on it so happily and I had both hands free to bath her.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?

That you can never give them too many cuddles. You will hear and read a lot about not cuddling them too much, they will get dependent on it and your making a rod for your own back. But honestly they are only little for such a short amount of time that cuddle them as much as you want. I promise you won’t regret it.

Ah, baby cuddles!

What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

I don’t think there is a case of the wrong advice, I just found that everyone likes to give you advice whether you asked for it or not. Listen to it all, but then decide if it is right for you and your baby. What might work wonders for them, might be terrible for you.

What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

In the first four months, go out and about with your newborn as much as you can. Go and enjoy lunches, shopping trips and anything else that you enjoy. Those first four months, you can pretty much take a newborn anywhere and they will sleep anywhere. After four months, they start to need more a routine and will naturally find their routine. This makes life a bit more restricting.

Ooh, good advice!

What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

It can be very overwhelming, you are full of emotions that you have never experienced before, you have a newborn baby that is totally reliant on you and you are leaning as you go. But don’t worry it doesn’t last long and you soon settle into it.

What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

The unconditional love that you receive from your child, there really is no love like it and it just gets better and better.

Thank you Laura, advice much appreciated! You can find Laura over on her blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at jules@ponderingparenthood.com.

meet the parents, parenting advice, advice for new parents, new mummy, new daddy, new mum, new dad, baby advice

Freedom! (Or not being housebound after a caesarean)

Freedom! Or rather, not being housebound.

Much was made at NCT class about the importance of mothers not becoming isolated in the early days after their husband has returned to work after paternity leave. Great! I thought, I’ll go for lovely walks with the baby after she’s born; I’ll pop into the city and meet other mummy friends for coffee and cake and have a lovely time; I’ll go to various mother and baby groups to foster my child’s social, emotional and cognitive development whilst chatting to the other mums for a bit of emotional well-being myself.

They didn’t mention that when you have a caesarean the physio will scare you witless by telling you about a lady who ‘went for a thirty minute walk three weeks post section and did herself some serious damage’ and that you’re not supposed to drive for up to six weeks, depending on your recovery (apparently some women feel fine to drive after four, though; fortunately my insurance company are great and their policy says you can drive when you feel ready and can safely do an emergency stop – it’s worth checking with your insurance company though as apparently some require a letter from your GP to say you have recovered sufficiently to drive).

So I’m now four weeks postpartum and I’ve only been to one mother and baby group (with my husband, while he was still on paternity leave) and one yummy mummy meet up (which a pregnant friend who had already put her isofix base in her car agreed to take me to).

The yummy mummy meet up was lovely and my first proper trip out without hubby; we went to a trendy café in a local park and I enjoyed some scrumptious poached eggs and bacon on gluten free toast (That’s the good thing about trendy, it means they are more likely to cater to my dietary needs). It was soooo good to have runny yolk for the first time in nearly a year. Yum! Hopefully next time we meet I’ll be able to have a good walk around the park too with Little M.

This weekend I decided to give driving a go again, while I had hubby with me to take over if necessary. To be honest, I don’t know what I was worried about. I was totally fine driving and haven’t experienced any after-effects. I’m hoping this will make a huge difference to me as most of the mother-baby groups are in a small town a 10-minute drive away from where we live – not on a direct bus route and certainly not walking distance away. So I’m hoping to be able to be a bit more sociable this week.

Added to that, we bought a new car that actually fits the pram in without having to take the wheels off, and (I’m easily pleased) there’s nothing more fun than cruising around in a new car, is there?! We went for a Ford Kuga, which feels huge compared to my Fiesta. We managed to get a bit of a deal at the bank holiday weekend but this meant the only model available was a black one, with blacked out windows. I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a gangsta…

caesarean recovery, not being housebound after caesarean, driving after caesarean,

 

 

My Petit Canard

Breast is best – isn’t it?

I unwittingly became embroiled in a Twitter debate about breastfeeding the other day, after posting a tweet about finally not feeding guilty about bottle feeding my baby in public in a group of other mums who were all feeding from the breast. I didn’t mention that it was expressed breast milk. In fact, the only reason I shared was because I was so pleased with the emotional progress I’d made since writing this post earlier in the week.

Anyway, it somehow started off a debate about breast vs bottle. I feel almost stuck in the middle of this equation as I’m doing breast via bottle. The sticking point of the conversation came when someone commented that, ‘fed is best’ – and someone else (a breastfeeding advocate) replied that, ‘fed is the minimum’.

Naturally this is a very sensitive issue and I’m not really sure where I stand on it. Obviously, breast milk has amazing qualities that cannot be replicated by formula and is what babies are, by design, meant to drink. However, for women who choose not to or cannot breastfeed, formula is nutritionally appropriate and babies can thrive on it.

Much is made of the stigma around breastfeeding and how breastfeeding mothers are often made to feel uncomfortable when breastfeeding in public, but in my opinion, the stigma around formula feeding is far greater.

I have heard stories of midwives and health visitors to be hugely unsupportive of mothers who have chosen (for very good reason) to formula feed.

In my experience, I have found my midwife and health visitor to be very supportive of my choice to express rather than feed from the breast, and the health visitor in particular has been very supportive over the fact that I know that at some point, I may have to top up with formula or even move to formula feeding entirely. The message has still been, “but you’re still giving her the good stuff” (in response to my worries over expressing) and, “I can’t recommend formula feeding but I will support you.”

This last comment particularly stung, especially given my fear of being judged on any level. Did my health visitor say that because she’s not allowed to recommend formula in her professional capacity? Or did she say it because she doesn’t want to? Hard to know. But it doesn’t escape me feeling judgement over potentially formula feeding.

I don’t know when I’ll introduce formula but I’m sure it will happen eventually. I’ve already had a couple of nights where Little M’s chugged so much milk she’s completely depleted my stores in the fridge and I’ve had a panic and frantically pumped to produce more. One day I’m sure demand will outstrip supply and on that day, it will be better to feed her formula than let her starve, and in that sense, fed is best.

I also think that this debate completely ignores the emotional well-being of the individuals concerned. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. It isn’t. No matter how natural it is, lots of women just find it too difficult. And if it’s too traumatic (and only the individual concerned can decide that, not anyone else) then surely it’s better to formula feed and have a positive relationship with your baby? I’ve spoken to women who have been brutally honest and said that trying to breastfeed simply made them resent their baby. Surely a happy and securely bonded mother-baby relationship matters more than whether or not the baby was breastfed?

For me, that’s the bottom line. I don’t think breast is best, nor do I think formula is best. A positive mother-baby relationship is best, and whether that’s accomplished through formula or breast milk, so be it.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies with A Cornish Mum

Welcome back to my new blog series entitled Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies, where we hear from the experts: real mums and dads!

This week we’re chatting to Stevie from A Cornish Mum.

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

I’m a Mum in her early thirties, with two boys aged 10 and almost 12 and we live with my boyfriend in the beautiful county of Cornwall where we were all born. I blog at A Cornish Mum and it is basically an eclectic mix of all sorts of subjects with a heavy dose of Cornwall. One of the things I passionately blog about is Type 1 Diabetes as my eldest son has had this for almost 7 years since he almost died from it at age 5.

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What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital
bag (for you)?

It has been a long time since I was in hospital having my boys, but if I was to do it again it would be an iPad or something similar to help while away the time if it was a slow labour. iPads hadn’t even been invented when I laboured in 2004 and 2006 though.

There is nowhere quite so mind numbingly boring as a hospital when you have to be there for hours. My eldest took well over 18 hours to arrive and a distraction would really have been welcomed.
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you
think first-time mums should be prepared for?

Yes, the chances are you may well poo. Don’t be embarrassed by this it happens, and don’t let the worry of it stop you from pushing properly as midwives have seen it all before. According to one of my midwives it’s even more common than people think, as they often whip it away without saying anything so a lot of mums who it does happen to, never know.
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new
parent should live without?

Muslins for definite, when they are on a milk only diet baby bibs really don’t do a lot for coverage when they’re sick. To protect you, your baby and your home from getting covered (well to minimise the amount) in sick, muslins are brilliant.

I have stockpiled muslins!
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first
child was born?

A friend told me that whatever anyone said about what I should and shouldn’t do for my baby, that I should do what felt right to me personally for myself and my child regardless. It was great advice and made me more relaxed when people would comment what they did with their babies; that was their baby and this was mine and I did what felt right for us.
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

To sleep as much as I could at the end of my pregnancy to make sure I was ready for the sleepless nights. Sleeping was rarely an option with the heartburn, foot cramp in the middle of the night and the huge bump restricting my comfort, but they meant well.

This advice really annoyed me too – perhaps people forget what being a heavily pregnant woman is like?!
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

Don’t compare your parenting to the way others do things and don’t feel pressured to do things the way someone else says is the right way. You’ll find your own way of parenting that works for you. Don’t stress over how others do things, just enjoy what you’re doing and make the most of every moment. Ignore the washing and savour those newborn cuddles.


What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

Learning to do things one handed! My first son always wanted to be held and usually at times when I was trying to eat myself, so I became a pro at doing things one handed or as quickly as possible. If it wasn’t for popping him in a baby carrier strapped to my chest I never would have gotten the bigger housework chores done though.

I’m not sure housework is going to be on my radar for a while!


What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

Those newborn cuddles, there really is nothing quite like them.

Thank you for some lovely advice, Stevie. You can find Stevie on her blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at jules@ponderingparenthood.com.

meet the parents, parenting advice, advice for new parents, new mummy, new daddy, new mum, new dad, baby advice

Mudpie Fridays

Mummy Guilt

I had a bit of a hard time last week. Thankfully I seem to have come out of it now (hopefully permanently!) but I just couldn’t shake some huge feelings of guilt.

Primarily, guilt over not feeding Little M from the breast. On Tuesday hubby and I went to a mother and baby group especially for new mothers and there were ladies there (quite naturally, of course) with their boobs out feeding their babies. I was not prepared for how this would affect me. I cried and cried, both while I was there (how embarrassing; the family support worker was lovely) and when I got home.

My lovely friend has been brilliantly supportive via Whatsapp and when I mentioned how bad I felt she replied, ‘No! Mummy guilt not allowed!’

Unfortunately, this didn’t quite have the desired effect and instead I started thinking about all of the other things I feel guilty about…

As well as the breastfeeding thing, I also feel guilty about the way Little M was delivered. I hoped and hoped that she would turn and I could have a natural birth (given my medical history a vaginal breech delivery was strongly advised against) but she didn’t and I ended up having a caesarean.

I know this was out of my control to a great extent, but I have been feeling hugely guilty about not having a natural delivery. This has been compounded by other pregnant and new mummy friends telling each other how amazing their bodies are when their labour starts. Yes, I know, they are amazing, but all I can think is that my body is pretty crap as it couldn’t get my baby into the right position for birth.

I expressed this recently in a mummy bloggers group and received a brilliant response which really helped to snap me out of my funk – ‘Jules, M won’t care whether she came out of your tummy or your foof!’ This was exactly what I needed to hear as I had been so busy comparing myself to other mums that I’d lost sight of what’s really important – what Little M thinks. I’m pretty sure she won’t care. So why should I?

I’ve also seen some other lovely friends who are combination feeding their babies or solely formula feeding, and it’s really helped me to ‘normalise’ formula feeding. I know breast is best but being fed is most important and sooner or later my supply is not going to keep up with Little M’s demands and I’ll have to combination feed. And you know what? It won’t be the end of the world. I’ll just have to read this post again at the time to remind myself of that!

Unfortunately, all of this came to a head on Thursday when I saw the midwife. Furthermore it was the same midwife who had a less than impressive way with words when I had a bleed at around 22 weeks of my pregnancy and told me there was ‘no point’ in me going in to delivery suite. Nice. She took my tearfulness as a clear sign of PND and told my husband, ‘if she goes downhill you need to phone Medicom straight away’. Thanks. Cue me then worrying I had PND and that I’d stop loving Little M. More tears.

To be honest I think most of it stemmed from my fear of hubby returning to work. Well, he’s had two days back now and we’ve survived. Admittedly, I’ve had help from my mother in law and parents on both days, but today I felt that I could have managed by myself as I got Little M into a sling and tried baby wearing for the first time which meant I could get things done and feel close to her.

In positive news, Little M was weighed at the end of our midwife appointment (perhaps she should have been weighed at the start and I wouldn’t have felt so crap for the whole session!) and she’s recovered her birth weight plus a little extra, so all the pumping is having an effect. She’s really upped her intake in the last 24 hours too so I’m sure she’ll chunk up even more – I just need to keep pumping to try to meet her demands!

mummy guilt, new parent, breastfeeding, caesarean

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Flying Solo – The End of Hubby’s Paternity Leave

I’ll be honest, I’m bricking it. Hubby goes back to work today and yesterday I had a complete meltdown on the midwife for a number of reasons but primarily because I’ve got no idea how I’m going to manage this parenting malarkey solo.

Hubby has been brilliant and we’ve been lucky enough for him to have almost three weeks off work. I think he’s almost been too brilliant though; I’ve barely sterilised a thing and not cooked a meal since Little M was born and I’ve convinced myself that I just can’t do it.

I suppose I need to get some perspective though:

  • It’s a Friday so I’ve only got to survive one day and then it’s the weekend and hubby will be with us again.
  • The school hubby works at on a Friday is in the next village so he’s hardly a million miles away if some kind of disaster strikes (which I’m sure it won’t).
  • He works at a school for goodness’ sake. Which means that he can legitimately leave work at 4ish on a Friday if he needs to. (I say legitimately and Friday because anyone who is a teacher knows that it’s very rare to leave before 5pm on any day of the week despite the general population thinking they leave at 3:15pm with the children; and my hubby is usually there at gone six every night – I’m hoping that will change now and he develops more of a work-life balance).
  • It’s not as though hubby works away – he can still cook dinner and give me a break once he gets home. Realistically I’ll be by myself with Little M for about eight hours.
  • I’ve bought enough bottles and pumping sets that I shouldn’t need to sterilise more than a couple of times during the day.
  • Mum texted earlier and is coming round after lunch to help. We’ll see how that goes and if I can actually let her help and get some rest, or whether my inner anxious control freak takes over…

…I’ll let you know on Monday whether we survived!

P.S. I’ve just discovered that hubby has made a packed lunch and left it in the fridge for me so I don’t even have to make myself a sandwich today. Love that man xx

paternity leave, solo parenting, lone parenting, end of paternity leave,

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
You Baby Me Mummy

Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies with Chelle from The Mumington Post

Welcome back to my new blog series entitled Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies, where we hear from those in the know! This week we’re chatting to Chelle from The Mumington Post.

Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.

I started my blog in 2009 when I was pregnant with my daughter. It’s developed into a mix of parenting and lifestyle since. Off the back of blogging I launched my own company and now freelance around 3 children! We live in Brighton.

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What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?

A water spray! Gosh this was used so much to spray on my face and feet in labour and afterwards. It’s also good to wet your mouth if you take in gas and air! Oh and a back up charger!

Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?

I didn’t have plain sailing labour (3 times) if anything I would say to mum, “relax and what will be will be”. Just be mentally aware that things don’t always go to plan.

What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?

For me it’s a decent wrap/sling! In the early days it’s easier to carry them then battle with a buggy and a sling and a rucksack like a babymule will be good enough for any journey!

We’ve borrowed a Caboo from friends.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?

Chill out! Don’t read any baby books as there’s no one fits all!

What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?

I think it’s actually listening to any advice! Gut instinct is pretty much all you need.

What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?

Again it’s relax. It’s not all organised schedule. Grab a cuppa when you can and treat yourself once in a while. That will keep your sanity going. This maternity leave I have a pamper box from pamper parcels delivered every month. It reminds me that my time is important too.

Sounds lovely to have a little pamper! I’m hoping to swing a massage at some point…

What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?

Oh my – I was never prepared for any level of sleep deprivation.

What’s the best thing about being a new parent?

All of it. The good days and bad days. As long as everyone is happy and smiling for part of the day it’s a win! Oh and managing a hot cuppa too. Nothing like relishing that when you’re a parent!

Thanks for the great advice, Chelle! You can find Chelle on her blog, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at jules@ponderingparenthood.com.

meet the parents, parenting advice, advice for new parents, new mummy, new daddy, new mum, new dad, baby advice

The Emphasis on Baby’s Weight and Breastfeeding

The second week of Little M’s life has continued to be something of a rollercoaster, although now, writing at the end of it, it feels as though things have settled down and we are on something more of an even keel. However, that could just be because we haven’t seen a medical professional since Thursday! I feel like the whole week has revolved around breastfeeding and Little M’s weight.

I wrote last week about Little M’s weight loss and how breastfeeding didn’t start well for me. Well, I’ve stuck with the expressing and I’m so proud that so far I’ve got to Little M’s due date with her being exclusively breast fed, which was my original goal when I decided that breastfeeding wasn’t for me.

At this point, I actually feel quite comfortable about continuing to express, but I’ve felt quite up and down about it all, not least because of the worry of whether Little M was going to put on weight and how long I was spending hooked up to the pump like a Holstein-Friesian.

Anyway, the rollercoaster of the past week. It turned out when the midwife came to weigh Little M on Monday that the one who’d come on Saturday (and pleasingly told us M had gained weight) actually had a set of faulty scales, so it was unlikely that M had gained weight at all. Sure enough, when they popped her on the scales, she’d only maintained her 8% weight loss from the previous week.

Cue me having a bit of a meltdown as we’d been feeling really positive about how Little M had been feeding since following the three-hour feeding plan. But apparently she wasn’t taking enough and we had to feed her more. The midwife at this stage suggested that we feed her every 2.5 hours and, if she didn’t appear to want any more milk, to leave the bottle in her mouth as it would drain down into her throat and she’d have no choice but to swallow it.

You want me to force feed her?

Yes.

Oh.

Well, predictably, that went well and we ended up at the GP the following day as by that point M was completely refusing to feed and wasn’t even waking when I stripped her off and changed her nappy. All very worrying.

Of course, by the time we were in the doctor’s office Little M was alert and even took a good feed in front of her. Relief. The doctor listened to what we had to say and told us that her advice (at risk of pissing off the midwife; yes she used those exact words, yes I loved her in that moment) was to go back to what was working and she was sure that M’s feeding would pick up at some point.

So off we went home and back to feeding Little M every three hours. On Wednesday the Health Visitor turned up and was absolutely lovely. She was hugely supportive and gave evidence-based advice (my favourite kind) about how to go about formula feeding when the time comes. At this point I was feeling quite low about expressing but still couldn’t bear the thought of trying to get M to latch. I was spending 30 minutes every three hours hooked up to the pump, producing just enough to keep just ahead of Little M’s feeding needs. It was tiring and demoralising.

The Health Visitor suggested I come along to a local breastfeeding café – she insisted that I am breastfeeding even though M hasn’t latched to my boob since day four. It made me feel much less guilty about the fact that I am expressing. This was helped further by the midwife’s visit on Thursday – Little M had gained weight! Hurrah! She still wasn’t at birth weight, but they don’t expect that until day 14 anyway, so we’re heading in the right direction.

I’m really worried about formula feeding – Will I mix it right? Will it make her ill? Can we afford it? It’s made me think more about breastfeeding and whether I should give it another go. I’m planning to go to the breastfeeding café on Monday and will see what the Health Visitors there say. I’ve been told that it’s probably too late to try to get Little M to latch now as she’s used to sucking from the bottle. This makes me feel guilty for not trying harder. Added to that the father-in-law asked me today when I’m going to start ‘feeding the baby properly’. I noticed he waited until hubby had gone to make a cup of tea and won’t share my response.

After the Health Visitor left, I resolved to try harder to make my breast milk last for as long as possible. I’ve looked more into expressing and @pumpingmummy on Twitter was hugely helpful and pointed me in the direction of this video. Using this technique I’ve managed to reduce my pumping time to 10 minutes every three hours instead of thirty, and increased my yield to boot! We’re now at the point where we’re running out of room in the fridge and I’ve ordered some breast milk storage bags so that we can freeze some breast milk too.

My only reservation now is how I can possibly express when out and about as I’m still tied to the pump every few hours. I suppose this is the next hurdle to navigate and I’ll have to do some more research as I know there are others who have managed to exclusively breast feed their baby via expressing. If you have any answers or know where I can find them, please leave me a comment!

baby's weight, baby weight loss, breastfeeding, expressing, expressing breast milk, trouble latching a baby, breastfed baby, bottlefed baby, formula fed baby

 

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My Random Musings